From The Editor

by Craig Stark

#88, 12 February 2007

First, a preview of Catherine Petruccione's interview with Sue Grafton (which should hit the streets next week). Here's what Sue had to say in response to a question about "J" Is For Judgment - specifically, why, at on point, she was having trouble writing it:

"I heard about a Jungian therapist in L.A. I drove down and met with him once and then he and I did therapy by phone for three months. He taught me the difference between Ego and Shadow; Ego being the self we present to the world, shiny halo in place, in our pathetic hope of being liked. Shadow is our dark side, where all the creative energy lies. Shadow is about play ... about truth ... about intuition and taking risks. Shadow is about all the petty, nasty, shameful pieces of our nature that we spend our lives trying to hide.

"I began to write out of Shadow, setting Ego aside, and it changed the way I work. The books are still difficult, but at least I have my head on straight. I think my understanding of Ego is what has helped me stay disconnected from self-puffery and self-aggrandizement. Ego interferes with the work. Shadow IS the work."

Once she brought Shadow back into play, things began to move again. This got me to thinking that it's been awhile since I've turned to my Shadow for inspiration - not since Rachel Ray, if I'm not mistaken - so I thought, what the heck, I'll dust him off this week and have a whack at a new series. No idea what I'm going to call it yet, maybe "Bad Bestsellers I've Had the Misfortune to Read" or something. Did you know that you can walk right up to the bestseller rack in most any bookstore today, close your eyes, and have a better than 50% chance of grabbing a bad book? It's true. In any case, selections for this 5-parter will not be hard to come by.

FYI, The New York Times now categorizes hardcover bestsellers thus:

  1. Hardcover Fiction
  2. Hardcover Nonfiction
  3. Hardcover Advice
  4. Hardcover Business

I'll start with a selection from Hardcover Advice this week and, along the way, try to address some associated bookselling issues we experience with bad but popular books. It's a more intriguing problem than you might think.

Also, Steve Weber joins me again, this time to heap praise on Amazon's new seller notification software - Amazon Services Order Notifier. Or ASON for short. (Once again, somebody was up all night thinking up names!) Your assignment this week is to repeat "Amazon Services Order Notifier" 10 times, quickly, without inserting an 'r' between 'o' and 't' and sputtering "Nortifier." There's no point our using this new tool unless we can pronounce it without making asses of ourselves. Actually, that was my Shadow talking. The truth is that Steve's praise is guarded. There are plenty of significant problems with ASON, and his article will illuminate the shadowy realms.


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